This award was created in honor of Charles (Charlie) W. Painter (1949-2015). It is presented annually by SWPARC in memory of Charlie to recognize an individual who lives or works in the SWPARC region and who has demonstrated excellent mentorship for students/enthusiasts in herpetology or has displayed excellence in sharing knowledge of the natural history of reptiles and amphibians.
Charlie has been near the hub, if not the hub, of herpetology in New Mexico since the mid 1980’s. Charlie was born on 23 February 1949 and grew up in Arkansas and Louisiana. His passion for herpetology manifested early and it stuck with him throughout his life. When Charlie wasn’t working on herpetology, he was wishing he was. Even during his service in the US Army in South Korea, Charlie amassed a collection of over 1,500 specimens of amphibians and reptiles. He obtained a MSc. in Biology in 1976 for research based on an inventory of amphibians and reptiles of Colima, Mexico. After continuing graduate studies at University of New Mexico, Charlie conducted inventory and monitoring studies of amphibians and reptiles of the Gila and San Francisco river drainages in western New Mexico. In 1985 Charlie began his career as the first state herpetologist for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. He held that position for more than 28 years, retiring in December 2013. Tireless energy, inclusive collaboration, and a staunch defense of New Mexico’s amphibians and reptiles are the hallmarks of Charlie’s career at that agency.
Among Charlie’s greatest achievements were his leadership to produce “Amphibians and Reptiles of New Mexico”, which he co-authored with William Degenhardt and Andrew Price in 1996, ushering legislation on “Regulation of Commercial Trade of Amphibians and Reptiles [18.104.22.168 NMAC-N, 31 October 2001], and publishing more than 80 articles, reports and other scholarly works on many species of amphibians and reptiles. He was recognized as a Wildlife Professional of the Year multiple times, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gila Natural History Center, and in 2013, Charlie was awarded the Alison Haskell Award for Excellence in Herpetofaunal Conservation by PARC.
Amphibians and reptiles were not the only beneficiaries of Charlie’s energy. He cared about people more than he cared about herps and encouraged numerous young students of herpetology to follow their dreams and not give them up. Charlie connected people professionally as well as personally and was key in establishing connections among herpetologists within New Mexico and across the country. He truly was the nexus of New Mexico Herpetology.
Award Nomination Form and Submission
Nomination form available here.
Nominations for the Charlie Painter Memorial Award are sought out on an annual basis and will be based on the following criteria:
- Nominee must live or work in the SWPARC region
- Nominee has provided excellent mentorship for students/enthusiasts in herpetology
has displayed excellence in sharing knowledge of the natural history of reptiles and amphibians.
- Nomination package may include up to three letters of support (letters are optional)
Please submit all nominations to Esther Nelson via email by June 30, 2017.
Note that current SWPARC Steering Committee members are not eligible to receive this award.
Award Notification and Presentation
Award recipient will be notified by mid- July, 2017 by e-mail and mail with a letter stating the accomplishments of the award winner meriting its receipt, signed by the SWPARC Steering Committee. Award logistics will be discussed upon notification.
The recipient will receive an award certificate and $500. In addition, the recipient will be publicly recognized by SWPARC in announcements and news releases, as well as in person during an award ceremony. The award will be presented at the annual SWPARC meeting within one of the states of the SWPARC region.